Winner! Winner! Carnitas Dinner!

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This is going to be a super quick post, but I just HAD to share this one! I knew it would be a long day, and we’d want something awesome for dinner. Enter a pork loin, a crockpot, a killer rub recipe, some onions and green chiles…carnitas! I borrowed the recipe from Mom Gone Paleo – and served the pork with some avocado, spicy salsa, and some chopped lettuce and tomato. Hubby had some quinoa and black beans along with his. I have to admit, I did have one taco style with a corn tortilla, but realized it was totally unnecessary. I highly recommend this recipe – exactly as is. It’s very rare this happens, but I didn’t change a thing! I did cook the pork on low for 10 hours since I wasn’t home to drop the heat down. Hope you like this as much as we did!

Paleo Carnitas

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There’s No Rice In There??

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That’s what my husband said when I told him what he was eating for dinner wasn’t rice! I downloaded the book Well Fed in my quest to learn more about the paleo lifestyle, and it has not disappointed yet! I did my “weekly cookup” yesterday – I cooked a bunch of proteins, steam-sautéed some veggies, and stocked up my fridge with ready-to-go components to throw together quick meals. I was in the mood for something with curry tonight, so I took some onions, garlic, red pepper, zucchini, yellow squash, tomato, pineapple, coconut milk, and curry powder and turned it into this:

Yum...curry!!

Yum…curry!!

Then I decided to try making cauliflower “rice” to go along with it. You see, my husband could eat rice all day every day. I think he could make a meal out of just rice with barbecue sauce. Actually, I think he’s done that before!! Anyway, when following the paleo style of eating, grains are a no-no. I’m already gluten-free, so rice is one of the few I still had in the house. I figured if I could get away with making cauliflower “rice” I just might be able to sneak this whole paleo thing past the hubby without too much fuss.

Here goes…. Take a head of cauliflower and cut it into florets, removing the stems. Throw it in the food processor and pulse it (10-15 times) until it looks like this:

Cauliflower "rice"

Cauliflower “rice”

Then, heat up some coconut oil in a large sauté pan and add some onions and garlic.

The base...

The base…

Now here’s where things get interesting… You can do this a million different ways. Tonight, I chose a curry version, so I added curry powder,  some chopped fresh pineapple, and a handful of chopped up roasted cashews – and sautéed that until fragrant.

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Add the seasonings…

Then add the “rice” and sauté 5 minutes or so, or until the cauliflower is tender, but not mushy. Adjust the seasonings as needed (salt/pepper/more curry), and voila!

 

Curry Cauliflower "Rice"

Curry Cauliflower “Rice”

It went perfectly with my quick curry – and I could totally see this being flavored many different ways depending on what I was making for dinner. It totally snuck past the husband until I told him it was cauliflower. Then he said he didn’t like it – but I think he just didn’t like the idea of it. He still ate more of it even after I told him!! I have a feeling cauliflower will be making more appearances as a stand-in for rice in my kitchen from now on!

In other exciting news – my blog is now included as part of the Gluten Free Global Community! I’m super excited! Just click on the button below and check out the many bloggers featured as part of this community. I’ve already found lots of great info through these folks, and I’m sure you will too!

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Have you ever snuck an ingredient past someone??

What’s your favorite “stand-in” food?

A Sweet Treat To Ring In the New Year

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Dark Chocolate Hazelnut Bacon Bark.

Yup. That second to last word is BACON.

Some of you just read that and think I’ve seriously lost my mind. Others read it and are thinking GENIUS! Either way, you really should read the rest of this post – and as my mother used to say, “don’t yuck it ’till you try it!!!”

Yesterday, I picked up a copy of the book Practical Paleo while I was at Costco. Since I’ve already had to go gluten-free, I’m thinking that trying out paleo is probably the next step in my health and nutrition journey. I have one recipe simmering away in my crockpot for dinner, but I wanted to try something a little out of the ordinary for a treat…

I’ve seen many recipes with chocolate and bacon, and I always thought it would be…well…gross. Wow. I thought wrong!

This recipe was SUPER easy, and it’s delicious! A small piece is definitely enough to satisfy the craving. I did alter it a bit from the book, but I’m sure it would come out just as well if you followed the recipe to a T. Anyone who knows me will tell you that I’m notorious for “doctoring” things up! Here’s my version…

Dark Chocolate Hazelnut Bacon Bark with Sea Salt

2 cups dark chocolate chips (I used Guittard Extra Dark – found them at Whole Foods)

2 tsp. bacon drippings

1 cup toasted hazelnuts, skins rubbed off and roughly chopped

4 slices bacon, cooked crisp and chopped

1/4 tsp. flaked sea salt

 

Melt chocolate chips with bacon drippings in the microwave – 30 seconds at a time, stirring every 30 seconds, until just about melted (a total of 2 – 3 minutes). Pour the chocolate out on a sheet of parchment paper laid on a cookie sheet. Sprinkle the hazelnuts, bacon, and sea salt over the chocolate and let set. (Yes – you really have to wait.) Break into chunks.

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Oh yes. This will be a very happy new year.

Crazy Good Soup!

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Thanks to my blogging buddy Jenn over at Peas and Crayons, I have a really amazing soup recipe to share with you tonight! Just made this for dinner and it got rave reviews! I warmed up an Udi’s gluten-free baguette in the oven to dunk in the soup, and you can’t get much better than that!! I do have to say, I wound up having to thin the soup out a tiny bit. I used heavy cream AND cream cheese (the reduced fat kind) and it made the soup really thick. I added a little bit of milk and chicken broth at the end to thin it out. I don’t think I’ll ever look at mushroom soup the same way again… Click on the link below to be taken to the world of creamy soupy deliciousness!!

Creamy Mushroom Brie White Bean Soup

 

I Survived My First Week Gluten-Free!

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So…I made it! This was my first full week of going gluten-free! I have to say, I definitely feel a difference. I’m not sure whether it’s a placebo effect or what, but I definitely feel better. I’m not having as many issues with my stomach, and the typical “brain fog” I’ve been experiencing lately also seems to have disappeared. I know it takes a while for everything to settle down, but if this week is any indication, this was definitely the right way to go.

I’ve found plenty of things I can eat – and have been really surprised by the number of things I can’t! My in-laws (the other ones) were here for the weekend and my mother-in-law (hubby’s mom) LOVES Special K. She brought a box with her for breakfast since I didn’t have any last time, and I took a look at the ingredients. Wheat gluten – right there in the ingredients! There goes another cereal… I had to explain to her why I couldn’t have it – and that touched off the “What is gluten?” and the “What else can’t you have?” conversation. I find it really hard to explain – since I’m not so sure yet myself. I gave her the big picture – no wheat, rye, or barley, and I have to read the labels of everything pretty carefully. She was so funny – I listed so many things I can’t have that she loves – she said she didn’t think she could do it. I told her I am just learning how to do without, and how to make substitutions.

In fact, that brings me to what I wanted to share with you. Whenever we have company on a Sunday morning, I like to have some kind of a nice breakfast or brunch. Today I made a crustless quiche type of thing (eggs with scallions, tomatoes, cheese, and turkey bacon), and I tried making gluten-free muffins for the first time. I was really nervous that they would turn out like hockey pucks and I would have nothing to serve with the eggs – all of my other GF stuff is frozen! Little did I know that my muffins would be morsels of yumminess, and that they would get rave reviews from everyone! To quote my dear MIL, “If you didn’t tell me, I would never have known these were gluten-free!” SCORE!!

Here’s how I made them…

Gluten-Free Mixed Berry Muffins

1 1/2 cups King Arthur Flour Gluten-Free All-Purpose Flour

3/4 cup organic cane sugar

1/2 tsp. salt

2 tsp. baking powder

1/3 cup canola oil (maybe melted coconut oil…will definitely try that next time)

1 egg

1 tsp. vanilla

1/3 cup milk (I’m sure you could use almond milk)

1 cup frozen mixed berries (I used the Welch’s Frozen Berry mix but took out the strawberries – leaving blueberries, raspberries, and blackberries)

 

Preheat the oven to 400F. Either spray 12 cup muffin tin with nonstick spray or line with paper liners. Whisk together dry ingredients in a large bowl. Add wet ingredients, mixing well. Fold in berries (I used them just frozen). Fill muffin tins about 2/3 of the way. Bake for 20-25 minutes (will depend on your oven) until they are golden brown on the top.

Here is what they looked like:

YUM!!

YUM!!

So glad that my first attempt at making gluten-free muffins was a success! I’m sure I will mess up at other points along the way – there will certainly be a lot of experimentation. At least I know I have one recipe I can fall back on now!

Hope you all had a great weekend – and had a chance to relax and recharge! Time to start another week already…

What’s your favorite Sunday brunch food??

 

Quick Recipe Share – Gluten-Free Pumpkin Pecan Bread

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When this recipe popped up on my newsfeed today, I knew I had to try it! I am waiting on some bloodwork that will hopefully tell me that I do not have celiac, however, in the meantime, I’m experimenting to see if not eating gluten makes me feel any better. I know one of the best ways to eliminate gluten from your diet is to just eat things that naturally don’t contain gluten. However, there are times when you just really want piece of bread or a muffin… In that case, I would highly recommend this recipe!

It comes from Amie Valpone over at The Healthy Apple. Her blog is awesome, and full of great recipes and information. I tried her recipe for Gluten-Free Pumpkin Pecan Bread tonight. I made a couple of small adjustments based on what I had in the house – I used coconut oil instead of the vegan butter, and I used walnuts instead of pecans. Hubby noticed the amazing aromas of maple syrup and cinnamon as soon as he walked in the door from work.

I have to tell you – I could hardly wait to try this bread! I hardly even let it cool before I popped it out of the loaf pan and cut into it. It’s moist, flavorful, and delicious! If you decide to try it, hop on over and tell Amie I sent you! I can only imagine that it would make yummy muffins – that’s my next experiment! I am also thinking this would probably freeze pretty well, too!

Have you had enough pumpkin yet??? I’m guessing you can tell I haven’t…

What a Wacky Week!

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This week has been incredibly busy… I realized today that I haven’t posted anything all week! I worked like a crazy person to get ready a really big presentation on Thursday night (after 10 pm at a meeting that lasted until almost 11:30!!). Thankfully it went well, and now that project is behind me!

I finally got around to replacing stuff in my fridge and freezer that I lost during our hurricane power outage last week. I knew the bill would be big, but whoa! I spent almost $250 at the regular grocery store, and almost $50 at Whole Foods. Granted, I replaced every condiment – I’m nervous that way. Plus, I bought all the regular stuff that I would have bought for the week, so I guess it wasn’t THAT bad. I made my favorite Turkey, Sweet Potato and Goat Cheese cannelloni for dinner last night. It still amazes me that my husband will eat sweet potatoes that way! I cubed and roasted a few extras to make some sweet potato hash with chicken apple sausage – I can’t for the life of me remember where I found the recipe, but this one looks pretty similar. It makes a great brunch or a quick dinner. That’s another way I can sneak in sweet potatoes without too much protest from my better half.

On another note, a couple of weeks ago I went for an endoscopy to check up on a few issues I was having a while back. At that time, I was getting awful stomach aches anytime I ate anything solid – it was really terrible. It seemed at the time that it was worse if I ate crackers or toast, so I started suspecting that I had celiac or some kind of gluten intolerance issue. Luckily, I haven’t had that problem lately, but I do have occasional tummy troubles. I really should keep track of when it happens to see if there are any patterns, but yeah…I’m a little lazy as far as that goes. Well, I got a call this week that things looked okay for the most part, but there was some persistent inflammation in my duodenum (here’s where that is). The doctor sent me for some bloodwork to check for celiac this time. I am really hoping it’s not the case, but if so, I’m going to have to change a lot in the way I eat. I love whole grain things – bread, English muffins, crackers… I am also finding that a lot of people that have celiac also have issues with dairy. That would be even worse!! I’m not sure what I’d do without yogurt, cheese, and a cold glass of milk once in a while. Yes, I know there are alternatives to all these things, but they’re just not the same. I am all about almond milk in my smoothies, but not to drink straight up! Keep your fingers crossed for me!

Not too much else happening here at the moment. I’m bound and determined to get back into my link-ups this week, so look for more posts!

Do you deal with any food allergies/intolerances?

Any favorite substitutes?